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February 8, 2023

Where are the baccalaureate laurels?

Each educational event, since prep class to graduation exams, including the baccalaureate, and university admission tests, generate each time heated, yet at the same time, futile debates. It is the baccalaureate 2012 which is now grabbing the headlines. Whether discussions engage ruling partners, the opposition or civil society representatives, are all of the aforesaid, as well as MPs, trade unions employers’ associations and parents alike, they all talk and talk, get boisterous or trade accusations without communicating with one another really. Sometimes, the speaker would not communicate with they themselves, so much so that their own previous opinions are presented as errors, exactly when their opponents of the past hold exactly the “opposite” view. This is the perfect example of lack of inter-human communication which takes the generalised crisis in Romania even deeper.

And the baccalaureate is the faithful mirror of the crisis the Romanian society is struggling with. Last year’s results were disastrous, given the passing rate was under 50 pc. This year too, prospects don’t look better. The baccalaureate examination mock-up three weeks ago anticipates a situation just as dramatic as last year’s. The baccalaureate of Olympic pupils yielded a passing rate of 35 pc from a total number of 900. Not many of them were so-called sport Olympians. Why “so-called”? Since many of them have been placed in this category by fraud, as sons, nephews and cousins of some political decision-makers from the sports sector. Little wonder then that many of those “Olympians” were caught copying and eliminated from the exam.This fact led to passionate discussions, with some accusing political meddling in the baccalaureate structure, while others maintain this is exactly what will prevent our champions in boxing, handball canoeing, you name it, from being defeated the way they have been until now. Yet others, question the need for an across-the-board baccalaureate in this stage of, even chaotic, decentralization. In order to decrease the fraud rate, some propose camera monitoring being put in place in all examination halls. Others, blame them for candidate inhibition and demand their being removed, while a third category of psycho-pedagogic analysts are in favour not of more cameras but a higher number of invigilators. Meanwhile, confusion and the reign of own liking grows larger and larger.In the hope of window-dressing the increasingly low level of educational knowledge, some favour the holding of differentiated baccalaureate exam, according to the school profile, ministerial decision or, plain and simple, the option of county education inspectorates who know best, mind you, the local staff needs. Exceptions are few resorting to arguments other than strict local ones, with minor particularities. Yet, even in those cases, all too few take into account the fact that professional vocation could also emerge after high school graduation, even more so. Given such circumstances, shouldn’t such differentiated baccalaureate pose the risk of a threshold going to narrow the young generation’s freedom of professional option? Wouldn’t such formulas, differentiated from one year to another, to the verge of the absurd,  push young generations towards an increased lack of interest to their own professional training?The lack of interest graduates show in taking the baccalaureate is often said to be grounded in their often exclusive concern with the prom party, which precedes the examination, with how to dress, what’s to eat, drink, and how much fun they’d have being the topics of interest. However, this is quite normal considering candidates’ age, which means the deep reasons should be sought somewhere else, and therefore lead to conclusions that could play a prophylactic role as well. The conclusion could be drawn that some synthesis baccalaureate preliminary tests could be taken as early as the 11th grade based on the educational level reached by that time. It is exactly such successive preliminary testing that could stir school student capacity of inter-disciplinary thinking, at the expense of the current formal memorizing so predominant today increasingly undermining the traditional prestige of the Romanian baccalaureate, which has been the focus of attention and under the creative influence of such great Romanian cultural and scientific personalities including Spiru Haret, Titus Maiorescu, Nicolae Iorga and many more.Playing down such figures is not the way towards our much desired revival whose chief reviving principle is exactly the spiritual and moral profile of the young generation. In support of this aspiration, of this strategic goal, we are called to overcome this perpetual Babylonian monologue where “each representative factor believes that it is entitled to anything, as the ‘only’ saviour of the citadel” As if in a huge Hyde Park wallowing in a ‘blissful’ ignorance of caricatural proportions. Towards what end? For the very fact that everybody holds a view, and therefore they are!

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